Sheep milking - year three begins

Baymule

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Good food from your sheep! You are an inspiration! Still working on fencing around here. Stupid crazy weather and life gets in the way. I can't wait to get my sheep. I would learn to milk and make cheese. We buy raw Guernsey milk locally, maybe I could start there. I can see cheese making books in my future.
 

norseofcourse

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@Baymule and @frustratedearthmother - thanks!

Sunday, I inventoried all the milk I had frozen, and I was amazed to find I had just over six gallons!! That's in addition to the milk I've used for fudge, ice cream, puddings, soap, and a few other things. No wonder I'm running out of room.
 
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norseofcourse

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Cheese report! I've made 'lemon' cheese twice now. This is made by heating the milk to 175° and adding lemon juice to precipitate out the curd. Then I poured it into a butter muslin-lined colander:

cheese1.jpg


I hung it to drain for awhile, and it was a nice, mild, semi-soft type of cheese. I ate some nearly every day for about a week, and it developed more flavor as the days went on (what flavor, you ask? Well, a kind of 'cheesy' flavor - I know that's not real helpful, but it's the best way I can describe it!).

I've had several friends taste it, and thought it was good. One friend said she could tell it was sheep cheese because of it's taste. I can't, but my taste buds aren't all that educated, and the variety of cheeses I've tasted in my life is pretty low. Even if I count the velveeta.... :lol:

I'm going to a cheese class and making mozzarella on Friday - that should be fun! I'll take the camera and let you know how it turns out.
 

Baymule

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Is your lemon cheese like a spread you could put on crackers? Also, how much lemon juice to how much milk? I might have to buy extra raw milk to try this!
 

norseofcourse

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Is your lemon cheese like a spread you could put on crackers? Also, how much lemon juice to how much milk? I might have to buy extra raw milk to try this!
It was a quarter cup of lemon juice to a half gallon of milk.

The cheese was soft enough to spread when it was fresh and still warm, but I kept it in the fridge so of course it was not as spreadable when it was cold. But it was easy to slice and still fairly soft. The longer you let it drain, the firmer it will be. You could always make a batch just before a get-together and serve it immediately, and you'd likely not have to worry about leftovers. The Home Cheesemaking book also talks about adding herbs and stuff to the fresh cheese for more flavorful spreads, and that sounds good, too.
 

norseofcourse

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Ok, Friday night I made mozzarella. It was so cool!

I used one gallon of sheep's milk. It was frozen, so it took awhile to get it up to 55°, at which point I added 1.5 teaspoons of powdered citric acid. Then I gradually heated it to 88°, and added the rennet. Since sheep's milk is said to take less rennet than cow or goat milk, I only used about a fourth to a third of what it called for (one-quarter rennet tablet).

The recipe was a bit unclear on whether I should continue to stir as I continued to gently heat the milk to about 100°, so I decided to stir occasionally. I worried the rennet wasn't doing anything, till within a few minutes I put the spoon in the pot to stir it, and discovered it had all suddenly become one big curd! It was like solid yogurt.

It still wasn't at 100°, but it got really difficult to get a good temperature reading because there was both curd and whey in the pot, and I couldn't stir it any more. I 'sliced' through the curd into about 1.5 inch sections, and when I got a couple readings high enough, even though it was only in the middle of the pot, I decided to ladle out the curd and continue with the recipe.

mozz1.jpg

I ladled the curd into a cheesecloth-lined colander, and decided to divide it in half for the next part, as there was quite a bit. I put half the curds in a microwave safe bowl and heated them for about 20 seconds. Then I took them out, and pressed the curds with a spoon to get more whey out. It's amazing how much whey kept coming out of the curds. Back in the microwave and repeat, and on the third heating there wasn't much whey coming out, so I picked up the curds and started kneading/folding/stretching them, kinda like taffy. They were a little stretchy but not a lot, so back in the microwave again, and woohoo they started stretching and really looking like mozzarella cheese! And boy were they hot to handle, too!

A friend of mine got to play with stretching the second batch, here she is stretching the curd, it's nearly stretchy enough:
mozz2.jpg


When it had cooled down we tasted it, and it didn't have much flavor (I've been told mozzarella doesn't have much), and it was a bit dry. I think the dryness was due to it getting a bit too hot once it became curds. But, I'm thinking if it's hot and melty, like on pizza or fried mozzarella sticks, it should taste better. I got marinara sauce today so I'll be making mozzarella sticks with it.

I definitely want to make this again! And I highly recommend it for beginning cheesemakers! It's not only fairly uncomplicated, it's just plain fun to knead and stretch the cheese and watch it become stretchy and mozzarella. I do recommend thicker rubber/latex/vinyl gloves, so you can handle the hot cheese more easily. The thin ones I had didn't help much. They say you can do it all with spoons, but the stretching part is much more fun by hand :)

I got a total of 14.75 ounces of mozzarella cheese out of the gallon of milk. I'm going to try it again sometime with just a half gallon. You should make some too! Google '30 minute mozzarella' for recipes.
 
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